The world as we know it is going to end but there is some good news - a small part of the world will escape the death and destruction. Where? 38km/23 miles south west of Carcassonne in the Aude département (county) you will find the village of Bugarach (200 inhabitants). The village is dominated by highest peak in the area - Pic Bugarach (1,230 m /4,035 ft). Only here will there be a safe haven.
In many respects the peak is out of the ordinary. It is made up of limestone. Nothing unusual in that except that the highest part of the mountain, where it would be expected to find the youngest rock is where in fact the oldest rock is situated. Geologically the mountain is upside down. The peak is covered in large areas of forest. Again not unusual but the forest is made of ancient box trees. The trees are very slow growing and the wood so dense it will actually sink rather than float in water.
|Rams head in the tree roots|
As with many other limestone areas there are numerous caves but Pic Bugarach includes over 30 with the system having been explored to a length of 5.5 km. The system includes an underground river and lake. The lake is dry at the present time. On the summit and elsewhere there are esoteric carvings found on certain rocks. For many reasons the peak is both unusual and remarkable but whether it will offer shelter from the coming storm no one is certain.
|One of the esoteric geometric designs found at several sites on the mountain|
The French authorities believe enough people are convinced and are already preparing for a massive influx of those wanting shelter from the Apocalypse. There is talk of access to the peak being denied during the month of December with roads blocked by police and cave entrances sealed with concrete 'plugs' positioned by helicopters - a huge over reaction according to some.
|View from the summit of Pic Bugarach|
Of course this is not the first time the end of the world has been predicted. In the following graphic Allison Morris takes a look back: